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Mahashivrati at The Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Devout Hindus say that going to the Kashi Vishwanath temple happens when you are called.

They say that it is one of the holiest places a Hindu could visit as the temple is one of the locations of the Jyotirlinga – where Lord Shiva presented himself.

The cycle of life and death and reincarnation is a cycle in which our good and bad deeds, the debts we owe and are owed all get squared off across all these lifetimes.

And the cycle goes on forever.

UNLESS one is fortunate enough to die in Kashi or Varanasi or Banaras. Which people do actually arrange for…if they are lucky enough to know of impending death.

Such is the reverence owed to Banaras and to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in particular.

Through various acts of serendipity, I came to know the family of the head priests of the temple.

The Mahant family. And they took me in with love and oneness. They invited me to attend the Mahashivratri with them at the temple – Mahashivratri – wedding of Lord Shiva – is the biggest grandest festival for all Shiva worshippers across the country. Bigger than any other festival. The whole city is devoted to Lord Shiva and so the whole city celebrates. And at the centre of that celebration is the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir.

And I was a guest of the Mahants of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

That night we all spent awake.

At 3am we went inside the temple for the Arti.

And into the Inner Sanctum. And were a part of the Mangala-Arti.

Loud singing in a meter that is hard to follow and unique to this Arti. Red Gulal filling the air, my hair, my clothes …Enthusiatic Powerful chants of Har Har Maha Dev Loud deafening Damru and cymbals and bells. And a crushing crowd that was perhaps denser than the Bombay train rush-hour crowd. And all this was accompanied by nonseasonal thunder and rain that added to the aura I could not help noting that the thunder lasted ONLY during the arti – not before – not afterAll senses completely consumed during the experience and I surrendered to the experience that all my senses were drowning in.

And the biggest gift that I received they say, is the Sparsh-Darshan of the Shiv Ling of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

They say I was very fortunate to have experienced all this despite being a nobody. That I must have done many good deeds to earn this extraordinary occurrence. A contractor who knows my worst side even called it a miracle!

And so I am once again struck by the series of chance events that have led to this experience.

❤️

Here are some photos:

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